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IRA BEY smoked one of his innumerable delicately scented Egyptian cigarettes, while he unfolded to me, one afternoon, the theories and principles which underlie his remarkable demonstrations. We sat in a luxurious flat in that growing quarter which is Cairo's inheritance from Europe. He had promised to tell me much, and so I anticipated his forthcoming revelations with a kind of mild thrill; I certainly received some illuminating answers to my questions.
It is always interesting, and sometimes profitable, to secure explanations of abnormal and extraordinary feats from those who have actually demonstrated them, and not from book-learned professors who can only theorize about them.
"We must begin by recognizing within ourselves the great possibilities which we all possess," he commenced; "and until we do this we must remain bound, hand and foot, to unnecessary limitations that prevent us exploiting our marvellous psychic and material powers. People, when confronted with the phenomena which I can produce, think it either some kind of conjuring or else something entirely supernatural In both cases they are wrong. They do not seem to grasp the fact that these things are perfectly scientific, obeying the laws of nature herself. It is true that I am using psychic lavs which are little understood, but, nevertheless, they are laws. Nothing that I do is arbitrary, supernatural, or against such laws. As for those who imagine I am a kind of stage illusionist, a conjurer, I must pity their narrow minds, their inability to envisage any higher possibility for mankind than the limited experience which has fallen to their lot."
My pen scribbled a stenographic note of the last sentence and I looked up, catching that wistful expression which sometimes stole into his mystic eyes when he alluded to his critics. One